Pinkglow® Pink Pineapples were first released in 2020, when they were sold for nearly $50 each. Now the prices have gone down, but are they worth buying over your regular yellow pineapple? Here’s everything you wanted to know about the pink pineapple—how much it costs, its development history, where you can find it in stores—and perhaps most importantly of all, does the taste justify the price? (This post is not sponsored by Del Monte in any way.)
Back in April 2021, commenter Nagucci asked me to write a review on pink pineapples, which had just appeared on the scene in Toronto. Here in cow🤠town, we always seem to get the cool trendy stuff a few months late. But now that the Pinkglow® pink pineapple has finally surfaced at my local Costco, I picked one up and gave it a try.
The price for these pink pineapples has gone down a bit since they were first released. (They originally sold for $49 USD for a single pineapple, and a price of $39.99 CAD was reported in Toronto last year.)
Even though the price has since dropped significantly, at the moment they’re still more than double the price of a regular yellow pineapple. At my Costco, regular pineapples were being sold for $4.99 while the Pinkglow pineapples were $10.99 each. If you’re in the USA, you can also order these pink pineapples online, but buying at your local store is likely to be much cheaper. For prices of pink pineapples in your local area, check out Where to Buy in Canada and Where to Buy in USA. (Due to regulatory hurdles, the pink pineapple is currently only available in these two countries.)
The Pinkglow pineapples are also noticeably smaller than their yellow counterparts, so if you took the price per unit weight, they would be even more expensive relative to yellow pineapples.
Both pineapples were from Costa Rica, so I imagine the shipping/import costs were similar. So what’s up with this insanely high price? The two main reasons are:
- Development costs: The pink pineapple took 16 years of R&D to create, so they’ve got to recover the costs somehow. I have a degree in biotechnology and have seen firsthand the amount of time and effort it takes to get a new product through each development phase and through all the regulatory hoops.
- Marketing: As a new food product that happens to be an Instagrammable colour, a lot of marketing has been poured into selling this pineapple. It’s being advertised as a luxury or special product, not on the same level as your regular yellow pineapple. Whether it deserves the hype or not… well, check out the Taste section down below.
Packaging & Presentation
The packaging of these pineapples is very simple and minimal: just a strip of paper labelling it as a Pinkglow® pineapple. At some stores, each pineapple comes in its own fancy pink box, but at Costco, they were just piled haphazard on crates like any other fruit.
I also find it interesting that they proudly state on the label that the pink pineapple is a product of bioengineering. Genetically engineered food has gained a bad rep in recent years, and maybe the Pinkglow is an attempt to improve that public image. I’m sure my old biotech profs would be pretty happy if people become less afraid of GMOs because of this fruit.
You may also have noticed that pink pineapples don’t have the bushy spiky crowns that fresh pineapples usually come with. I quite like this feature. Sure, it’s less aesthetically pleasing, but they’re easier to transport and they don’t tear up your grocery bags.
According to Del Monte, the company that grows these fruits, the crowns have to be removed because they are replanted to grow the next crop of pineapples. Cynically, I feel like this is done to stop people from planting the crowns at home. If everyone can grow their own pink pineapples, that would undermine the exclusivity of the product.
History of the Pink Pineapple
According to Del Monte, it took 16 years to bring this fruit to market. Locals in South and Central America have grown pineapples for thousands of years, and in fact Del Monte cultivates these pink pineapples in Costa Rica, which is one of the world’s major suppliers of all pineapples.
I couldn’t find any information on the 5head that first brought up the idea of growing and selling a pink pineapple, or how that person was able to convince Del Monte execs that this was a good idea. I really wonder how that meeting would have gone, and just why the company decided to pursue a pink pineapple project of all things.
(An alternate theory I saw on a YouTube comment was that the R&D team were originally researching about something else, and ended up creating a pink pineapple as a “happy accident.” Which seems way more plausible tbh.)
At the moment, you can only buy this fruit in the United States or Canada. Both the FDA and Health Canada have approved this pink pineapple as being “as safe and nutritious as its conventional counterparts.”
Because it’s a new GMO product, they would likely need to get approval from the food safety authorities in any country they want to sell to.
A Look at the Science
No, the pink colour doesn’t come from being dyed. It’s due to a molecule that occurs naturally in many fruits: lycopene. Per the FDA, “lycopene is the pigment that makes tomatoes red and watermelons pink, so it is commonly and safely consumed.” Lycopene exists naturally in pineapples as well, but pineapples also contain enzymes that convert the lycopene into another molecule, beta carotene, which is gives them their yellow colour. So the Del Monte scientists engineered a pineapple that expresses lower levels of this enzyme, in order to prevent the conversion of lycopene into beta carotene. Thus, with high levels of lycopene and lower beta carotene, the pineapple stays pink.
I was impressed with how my pink pineapple tasted. It was perfectly ripe, super juicy, sweet and not sour. In short… like a high quality yellow pineapple. Both of my parents said it tasted like a very sweet regular pineapple.
However—and this was the biggest plus for me—I didn’t experience that tingling sensation in my mouth that I usually get with pineapple. I usually have to soak freshly sliced pineapple in salt water to reduce the weird feeling. That perception of burning and tingling is caused by another group of enzymes called bromelain which breaks down proteins, including the proteins in your mouth. That’s why pineapple is know as the fruit that eats back!
It turns out the Pinkglow pineapple contains less of this enzyme, which explains why I didn’t get the usual burning sensation when I dug into the freshly cut pieces, even though I didn’t salt them first. (I swear, I didn’t know about this until I started researching for this post, which was long after I already ate the pineapple. So it’s not all placebo okay?!)
Aside from that and the pink colour, the pink pineapple is like any other pineapple. It also behaves the same in recipes.
This is a cooking blog after all, so I wanted to try making some desserts that would showcase the vibrancy of this pink fruit.
Since I bought a single pineapple, I only had the chance to try it with two recipes. First, I attempted a vintage jello thing that I saw on /r/Old_Recipes. I used a spare can I had lying around and made my own “lime jello” with lime juice and agar powder. Unfortunately, I guess I didn’t leave enough room for the agar to set, or maybe the concentration wasn’t strong enough, because it kind of fell apart when I tried to remove it from the can. It was still tasty—pineapple and lime is a refreshing combination—but not pretty to look at.
After that failure, I recovered some of the leftover pineapple, and used those pieces plus the pineapple core to make a pineapple pie. Interestingly, the colour deepened from pale pink into an intense, orange-reddish hue after slowly heating it on the stove for around 20 minutes. Here’s the final recipe for Pink Pineapple Pie, perfect for Valentine’s Day.
Yes, people are mocking this pineapple for its price and frivolity. As one food scientist complained, “We are buying a $49 pink pineapple and spending 16 years researching how to genetically engineer a pink pineapple … talk about privilege and first-world problems.” Also, Del Monte has gone hard on the Instagram marketing which definitely turns off some customers.
But it makes a pretty cool gift or a neat centerpiece at a party. After all, when pineapples first became popular in 18th century Europe, they were so highly prized that Europeans used them as decorative table displays for dinner parties. There were even pineapple rentals for people who couldn’t afford to buy one outright. Regular yellow pineapples were absolutely a luxury fruit back in the day! (And still are, if you think about the logistics it takes to get a perishable tropical fruit to wherever you are in the world.) So we’ve really come full circle on this pineapple privilege issue. 😉
Overall, I think the current price of $10.99 for one of these pink pineapples is reasonable. Am I going to buy another one? Not for a while, and that’s partly because I’m not a huge fan of pineapple in the first place. But just like Shine Muscat Grapes, another expensive but delicious fruit, they’re worth the occasional splurge.
Where to Buy in Canada
Alberta, British Columbia, and Quebec: You can find pink pineapples in Costco for $10.99.
Toronto, Ontario: Available at Loblaw’s and WinCo.
Where to Buy in USA
Alabama: The Pinkglow pineapples can be found at Parkway Farmers Market in Opelika.
California: Pink pineapples are available at The 99¢ Store for $10, or at Vons for $15 each. More recently they have been selling for $4.99 at Ralphs locations—this is the cheapest price I’ve come across so far.
Florida: Sighted at the Marion County Flea Market in Belleview, selling for $10. They are also available at the Dixie Harvest fruit market in Homosassa for $7. In Jacksonville, you can find them at Freshfield Farms for $7.99.
Kentucky: Found in Louisville at Kroger’s for $5.59 each.
Missouri: Found in Columbia at Hy-Vee for $10.99 each.
New York: Available at all Wegman’s locations in Buffalo for $9.99 each.
Rhode Island: Sold at Dave’s Market in East Greenwich for $9.99.
Texas: Available at Fort Worth Farmers Market. Also at Terrell Farmers Market for $11.99, Green’s produce market in Arlington for $8.99, and Kroger in Dallas for $6.99.
If you’ve seen the Pinkglow pink pineapple for sale in your city, please leave a comment so I can update this post to include more locations.
Thank you to Bee, Cherrilyn, Charli, Coral, Dawn, Elyse, Em, Eric, Jane, Joe, Keshia, Lexi, Marissa, Pamela, Tina, and other anonymous commenters for reporting the prices for Pinkglow pineapple in their local area!
Any other foods you want me to review? Let me know in the comments and I’ll try to find it in the stores here.